Dewsbury-based arts organisation Manasamitra is mentoring five women from minority backgrounds under its Women Composer Mentoring Project, helping to cultivate their skills and hone their artistic development.
The scheme was made possible by support from the Performing Rights Society Fund and Arts Council England. It sees mentees receiving one-to-one guidance and mentoring from Mansamitra’s founder and artistic director, Supriya Nagarajan, an internationally acclaimed Carnatic singer and composer with over 15 years’ experience in the arts industry.
Each artist will receive advice, support and guidance from Supriya through a series of individual tailored sessions, with the aim of creating a new composition to be debuted this Spring.
Supriya said: “I am thrilled that we’re able to work with these incredibly talented women to help develop their skills as individual artists. There’s so much potential that remains untapped within minority backgrounds and I’m proud that we can help unlock their creativity and provide mentorship and guidance for those wanting to progress in the arts.
“It has been a rich and rewarding experience for me personally. Each of the mentees has different starting points, perspectives, goals and needs and, as a mentor, I had the biggest challenge of stepping into their shoes before every session – one shoe size does not fit all. My biggest reward has been the kinship of like-minded strong women who have a common love for music and composition.”
A mentee within the programme said, “It has been eye-opening to discuss what it is like being a woman of colour in our industry so openly, living amongst sometimes overt appropriation and discrimination. It has actually made me feel a lot more secure talking to someone who can confirm I am not imagining things.”
Another added, “The motivation in these sessions has led me to produce more outstanding music and also increased my determination in preparing for the future without fear.”
And finally, the programme has been described as, “the epitome of ‘Women Supporting Women’.”
Currently being mentored through the programme are:
- Nicole Raymond (NikNak) – Leeds based musician who released her debut album ‘Bashi’ in November 2020.
- Millicent James – Birmingham based composer and previous recipient of the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire scholarship.
- Damilola Eniola (Gugaksound) – London based composer, currently influenced by building conversations between Asian music and classic instruments.
- Yshani Perinpanyagan – Genre-bending pianist whose piece ‘Hedgehog’ kickstarted her career after it gained traction on social media.
- Satnam Galsian – British-Asian vocalist based in Leeds. Satnam currently performs with her band Kinaara as well as delivering community-based programmes promoting health and wellbeing through music.
Supriya has also recently started mentoring a new composer through the Music Wales program and has plans to expand the Women Composer Mentoring Project in the near future.
As well as the mentoring programme, Manasamitra continues to host the Dewsbury ‘Not-the-Fringe’ festival, a celebration of local talent and diversity. The events, through February and March, incorporate a mixture of music, poetry, dance, speech and sound, showcasing the rich local talent and celebrating the creative diversity within the district. As well as performances, the festival features a number of virtual workshops taking place across various artistic mediums.
Manasamitra is an artist-led organisation based in Dewsbury, delivering a range of exciting and original cross-cultural experiences. Its work is rooted in the creative vision of Supriya, a classically trained Carnatic singer who is inspired by the traditions of her South Asian roots combined with new ideas, forms and aesthetics from across the world, presented within a contemporary British context.
To find out more about the mentoring programme, please visit: http://www.manasamitra.com/our-work/women-composer-mentoring-project/
To find out more about the Dewsbury ‘Not-the-Fringe’ festival, please visit: www.manasamitra.com/our-work/the-dewsbury-not-the-fringe-festival9th March 2021